Greece: Country’s ‘risk rating’ won’t change ‘for now’ despite Scotland quarantine change

The Scottish Government announced yesterday evening that travellers from Greece would have to self-isolate for 14 days from Thursday. Wales has also implemented quarantine rules for those returning from the island of Zante. The Foreign Office (FCO) advice was updated for Wales today.

It reads: “If you’re returning to Wales from Zakynthos (Zante), you may be required to self isolate for 14 days, and request a coronavirus test once you arrive home.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps revealed last week that there had been cases of people “reimporting” coronavirus to the UK from other countries after going abroad on holiday.

Despite mounting pressure to consider quarantine rules for Greece, England’s Department for Transport (DfT) said it would not be changing its rules “for now”.

The Department for Transport said last night: “Decisions to impose self-isolation are based on a [Joint Biosecurity Centre] risk assessment.

“The JBC has not changed the risk rating for Greece and we won’t be removing it for now.

“We keep data for all territories under constant review, and update our exemptions list with any changes on a regular basis to reflect the shifting international health picture.”

But Wales’ health minister Vaughan Gething said he would be pressing the UK Government for an urgent meeting to consider the potential risk in Greece.

Mr Gething said six clusters which amounted to more than 30 cases of coronavirus in the last week had come from four flights, two of which landed in England.

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A seven-day rate of 20 is the threshold above which the UK Government considers triggering quarantine conditions.

Currently, Greece has 14 coronavirus cases per 100,000 over a seven-day period people which is well below the UK’s threshold.

Meanwhile, Portugal, which was added to the UK’s travel corridor list a few weeks ago is above the threshold with 22.3 cases per 100,000 people over a seven-day period.

Greece’s Minister for Tourism Harry Theoharis said Greece is taking “targeted measures” and is making sure that Britons are safe in the country.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: “We’re actually going in the right direction.

“We’re going down in terms of the average numbers.

“We’re taking specific targeted measures where we see specific concentrations of cases.

“Measures that have been successful and have been working in the past few days.

“So, I think we’re doing everything in our power to ensure that every person that comes from the UK is kept safe in Greece.”

Greece has recorded 10,524 cases of coronavirus and 271 deaths, at the time of writing. 

This is significantly less than other European countries such as Spain, Italy and Portugal.

The DfT has been announcing changes to its quarantine exemption list on Thursdays, meaning that a decision regarding Greece is likely to be revealed tomorrow.

Any new quarantine rules are then likely to be put in place from 4am on Saturday.

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